Lately, the news has come in flooding waves for me. The election, bailouts, and endlessly horrible employment news have washed over me, and left a sort of numb feeling in place of my usual optimism. Capitalism seems to have died a death at the hands of worldwide greed, and I am left shaking my head at a growing list of casualties. That's just the domestic scene. When I take a look at the sprawling, worldwide chaos, the picture becomes even darker.
India is considering a strike against Pakistan. Israel is weighing strikes against both Iran and Syria. The United States faces an impending disaster in Afghanistan, pondering the age old old question "Should I stay or should I go?". Then, there is the Cold War posturing that Russia has rediscovered of late. They have reinserted themselves into the international conversation once again, in a very aggressive manner.
We are seeing substantial devaluation across currencies worldwide, and some of it is intentional. For instance, the Chinese have devalued the yuan to keep their exports competitive, even as consumption drops in the Western world.The Russian ruble has been dying a slow, agonizing death for months now. Its prospects against the dollar have fallen by 30%, and show no signs of hitting a solid bottom. Iceland is on the verge of anarchy, due to the insolvency of the krona, and the resulting anger at the government's perceived culpability.
Instability is the only constant worldwide, with the occasional sprinkling of outright implosion. In all this, the cry from the international -and domestic- communities is a global solution. It makes sense, to a certain degree. Ockham's razor would naturally deem that a problem of global scope should be paired with a solution of the same depth. While I generally have no qualms with the theory. that "All things being equal, the simplest solution is the best", I believe Mssr.Ockham would think twice before applying his philosophy to international crises.
I can hear some of you who fervently wish for world peace asking "Why? I mean, isn't it time we put aside our differences, our Nationalism, and our borders? Isn't now the best time to embrace our fellow man, and weather this crisis as a member of the human race." That is an admirable sentiment. Let us examine the logistical issues inherent in the adoption of global governance (née government).
Let's start with the chosen form of Government: You've got your Monarchies, Theocracies, Democracies, Benevolent Dictatorships, Technocracies, and all forms of Socialist variants in-between. Now, you want people with diametrically opposed ideals to come to a consensus on how the world should be run. This could be done, but all parties would have to agree to binding resolutions that may or may not contradict the Constitutions adopted by the inhabitants of their respective countries. If this is done, then you wipe out another hurdle that presents itself: National Sovereignty.
That one is a doozy, because it wipes out the individualism of nations. Sure, you may keep your cute, cultural idiosyncracies. You'll still wear lederhosen, a Sikh's turban,or the tartan kilt passed down to you by your grandfather. What will disappear are the laws you have been accustomed to following your whole life. For someone in the United States,it would be the obliteration of State's rights. Want to legalize medical marijuana in your state? It has to be approved by the governing body for the entire world, and the legal code of the entire world must be amended, just so your Granny with glaucoma can get access. Want to appeal an unjust judgment? You get to go through various levels of an internationally appointed judiciary. All of your local decisions are subject to the whims of an international body. Even if their motives are completely pure (unlikely at best), the system still leaves ample room for corruption and vast inefficiency.
What about handling issues of equality? There's a sticky situation. While they could handle the issue of dominant nations by giving them preferential seats in the new government, it would still provoke the criticism of the rest of the governing body. Nobody really cares for the UN model of government, as they merely pass guidelines, not binding legislation. They draft resolutions with all the legal enforcibility of "the gentleman's handshake". The smaller nations want equal voice with the US, China, and Russia. This would have to be remedied, in order for the smaller nations to agree to surrender their sovereignty. Larger nations would have to eat some national pride, and swallow the bitter pill of decreased international relevance. In short, there had better be some kind of "Supreme Leader" in charge to smooth the ruffled feathers. How are they going to come to agreement on appointing the Emperor of the Planet? These people can't even agree on which form of government is best. This, is only minor squabbling compared to...
Religion. In a government made up of diverse population, and differing views on what is "the only true way to God", how do you keep one religion from being imposed on all the others. Most Christians look on Constantine's misguided reign as a horrible time for their religion. A forced conversion to a state(or world) religion would be many times worse than the rule of any Roman emperor in times past. Far worse than that would be the travesty of forced parity between all religions. This is a freedom of speech issue. The Muslim would not be able to declare "Allahu Akhbar(god is greater)", because it is contrary to parity. The Christian could not declare "Jesus is the Son of God", because it contradicts the statements of Islam and Judaism. The follower of Judaism could not declare "Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is One", because it devalues the claims of Hinduism. This is the primary obstacle for a global government, and one that will remain a vexing issue, should they choose either of the options previously discussed.
Financially, the problem of switching to a universal currency like the Euro is easily on its way to being solved. I only mention it as an afterthought. Physical currency would not even have to be minted. Well, maybe for developing nations. For the developed world, one would turn into a society like the Japanese have: A relatively cashless society, where you can pay with your cell phone, or credit card. Most of the groundwork, trading, and information systems are already in place to facilitate such an exchange. Your old currency would simply be given an exchange rate. There would be a one-time trade in, and the destruction of all other currencies would commence shortly thereafter. Problem solved.
While global government is inevitable, the challenges that face it are almost insurmountable. This ensures that it will be poorly implemented, poorly received, and roundly declared a triumph of humanity. The solutions, however, are unable to be solved by Mr. Ockham. You know, "All things being equal, the simplest solution is best", and all that. The problem lies in the fact that neither of his premises can be applied here: In the world of international politics, nothing is simple. The other problem is more adequately explained by a paraphrase of George Orwell. He had this to say "All animals (nations) are equal, but some animals (nations) are more equal than others."